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Fly River Turtle (Pignosed Turtle) -Carettochelys insculpta. Care Sheets
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Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 0.33    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 04/28/2003

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 Care Sheet Submitted By:

Flavia Guimaraes

Years Experience:

3 to 5 Years


Fly River Turtle (Pignosed Turtle) -Carettochelys insculpta.

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:

Most of the tropical turtles.

Sexing and Characteristics:

Lenght: Up to 22 inches ( 56.3 cm)
Distribution: Southern New Guinea, Southern Irian Jaya (Indonesia), Northern Australia.
Natural Habitat: Rivers, estuaries, lagoons, lakes, swamps and pools, with most found in areas with sand and gravel bottoms covered with silt and averaging 6 feet deep. Habitat water bodies tend to have forested banks.Water bodies may also have fallen trees and branches, undercut banks, exposed tree roots and litter accumulation for cover.

Mostly Active During:


Substrate and Water Needs:

I raise my 5 FRTS outdoors, in 5 huge plant vases.I use tap water, no substrate but lots of aquatic plants as a cover. If where you live the water is treated with large amounts of chlorine or chloramine, it should stand for 24 hours before you use it for your turtles. Besides the plants, i put cuttlebones in their tanks as a calcium supplement.

Lighting and UVB:

As i live in a very hot and humid country, a very friendly weather for Fly River turtles, i dont use any artificial equipment to raise my babies. But i recommend to keep your turtle indoors and to use a heater and a source of UVB if you live in a cold weather country.

Temperatures and Humidity:

Where i live the temperature is always between 80-92 the whole year.I think that is the ideal temperature for pignoseds.They do need to take sun or to have a source of UVB.I often see my FRTS basking in the water!When they dont take sun their shells become lighter brown with white spots.When they bask their shells change the colour and become more dark gray, almost black. The water temperature must be between 79-86 F.

Heating and Equipment:

As i said above, if you live in a cold country you will need to have a heater and a source of UVB to properly raise your turtle.

Caging Provided:

As i said before i raise my turtles in huge plant vases.Although they are large enough for them now, because they are still young, when they grow up they will need at least a 200 gallon tank because they will become huge (up to 22 inches) and they do like to dive in the water!



Description of Diet:

I give my FRTs turtle pellets (they prefer the colorful and the no floating ones), they eat also fruits like wild fig and grapes (cut in the middle), greens, like collards and aquatic plants (water lettuce). Although my VET recommended me to give them raw meat once or twice a week, i am sure they prefer ham. I give them little pieces of ham also because it doesnt dirty the water as much as meat. They love to chase and eat guppies, aquatic insects and mollusks.Sometimes they chase and kill the guppies only for fun!

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:

I put cuttlebones in their tanks..


If you can offer a tropical environment your turtle will thrive.The pignoseds turtles are very hardy and very easy to care.The only real problem they have is that they are VERY prone to develop fungus on their shells. This is a very serious condition!!Fungus can kill a turtle in one week, if not treated. But it can be treated with Betadine or Acriflavine.

Some Words on this Species:

Although pignosed turtles look very sweet and probably will never try to bite you, they are VERY territorial and can become VERY aggressive with each other. I strongly recommend to never keep more than one turtle in a small/medium size tank because they WILL bite each others shells and the shell, once biten, will develop fungus. For the same reason NEVER put any rock or something with a rough surface inside a Fly River tank. I dont recommend also to put another specie of turtle living with pignoseds. If the other turtle is a softshell they will fight; if it is another specie of turtle probably it will not thrive. I used to cage a Snake-Neck with one of my FRTs.The FRT never bit the Snake- Neck but the SN didnt thrive either.It was so much afraid of the Fly River it stopped eating and, as a consequence, stopped growing. Or, perhaps, the Fly River didnt allow the Snake- Neck to eat.I needed to separate them because the Snake Neck could have died if i continue keeping them together!
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The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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